[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Words & Pencils: Phil Jimenez
Inks: Matt Santorelli & Joe Prado
Colors: Jeromy Cox
If you were here last month, you know things didn’t look good for Lois. Despite Lana’s reveal as the other Superwoman, it was quite a shock for Lois to be taken out in her debut issue by what appeared to be a Bizarro. The good news is that Superwoman #2 is just as good as issue #1, if not a little better.
Lex and Lana are both trying to figure out what’s happened on the Gestalt. Lana is still in a bit of disbelief as she tries to process the apparent demise of Lois Lane (I say apparent, because I don’t want to believe it myself.). Meanwhile, as the ship’s defense systems come online and attack the city, Lex’s armor is still non-functioning and he’s calling for Superwoman! On the ship, Lana realizes that the Bizarro is not alone and they have the capability of imitating one’s appearance. One of them takes on the visage of Lex’s assistant Mercy Graves. As more Bizarros arrive Lana escapes and finds Steel on the scene. With the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit they reconvene on the docks to assess the situation. Steel and Lana go downtown with Maggie Sawyer for questioning as Lex and Mercy attempt to follow their own leads. Lana and Maggie bond while Steel worries extensively over Lana’s disturbing nose bleeds.
Lana and Steel go back to his place where they fill in Steel’s niece, Natasha. Lana has a nightmare, Steel and Natasha get into a bit of trouble and Mercy leads Lex to the real villain of the piece, or so it seems.
So often in today’s comics, the reader suffers from decompressed storytelling. Each issue seems to contain very little progression and a six-issue arc today would’ve filled a double sized special back in the ’80s. Superwoman does not have that problem. This issue is chock full of mystery, plot and characterization, top to bottom. Jimenez is not afraid to build a fairly large cast and amazingly, no one seems short-changed. Each character is there for a reason and it’s clear.
It’s easy to think of this as a book featuring Superman’s supporting cast, essentially that’s what it is. However, the characters and situation are so compelling that Superman himself is not missed.
It’s been a challenge to try to imagine Lex as a hero in recent months, but this issue perhaps does the best job so far of convincing the reader that Lex is what he claims to be. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the big bad of the arc is after him. It says Superwoman on the cover, but the main conflict is Lex-centric.
Few things are perfect, but it’s hard to find fault with this book so far. It’s got nearly everything one might want in a comic. The only drawback is the question of what happens after this first arc and some of the mystery is gone. How long can this status quo be maintained? What keeps Superman from being involved?
This comic does a great job existing in the world of Superman without featuring Superman. Much like Captain America after his death a few years ago, Superwoman is doing a wonderful job telling a story with an ensemble cast with the main hero absent from the equation. And like Ed Brubaker’s Captain America, it succeeds on the strength of characterization and a mystery which are just as compelling if not more than the absent hero.